Bob Dylan’s collection of love letters has sold for $670,000

A collection of touching and sometimes prescient personal letters written by a young Bob Dylan to a high school friend has been auctioned off to a prestigious Portuguese bookstore for nearly $670,000.

Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal, which bills itself as “the most beautiful bookstore in the world,” plans to keep the archive of 42 handwritten letters totaling 150 pages complete and make it available for Dylan fans and scholars to study, it said Auctioneer RR Auction in a statement Friday.

Dylan, a native of Hibbing, Minnesota, wrote the letters to Barbara Ann Hewitt between 1957 and 1959, when he was still known as Bob Zimmerman. They give a glimpse into a period of his life about which not much is known.

Notably, in some of the letters, Dylan writes about changing his name and hoping to sell a million records. Decades later, the now 81-year-old Dylan and winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature has sold around 125 million records.

The personal collection of love letters will be auctioned.
Aside from professing his love for his high school sweetheart, the letters also contain future slanders Dylan has for becoming a musician.

The young musician also expresses his affection for Hewitt, inviting her to a Buddy Holly show, adding little fragments of poetry and talking about things that have occupied generations of high school students, like cars, clothes and music.

Hewitt’s daughter found the letters after her mother’s death in 2020. The original envelopes, addressed in Dylan’s handwriting, were sent to the Hewitt family’s new home in Minneapolis-St. Paul, a suburb of New Brighton.

The personal collection of love letters.
The collection consists of 42 handwritten letters with a total of 150 pages.

Several other Dylan memorabilia were also up for auction at the auction, including an archive of 24 “Poems Without Titles,” written while the singer-songwriter was a student at the University of Minnesota, which sold for nearly $250,000; and one of the earliest known autographed photos of Dylan, which fetched more than $24,000. Bob Dylan’s collection of love letters has sold for $670,000

Emma Bowman

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